2013 Lemon Aid New Car Reviews - Large Cars


Large cars offer abundant cabin space and big trunks, but can be cumbersome to drive in the city. Big engines deliver relaxed performance and good fuel economy on the open road, but fuel mileage can plummet in town. The size and weight of cars in this segment offer enhanced occupant protection.

Early-release 2013 versions of the Ford Taurus and Toyota Venza went on sale in the spring of 2013. The revised Honda Accord Crosstour went on sale early in 2013 and the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Impala goes on sale in the summer of 2013.

A note about mileage: The APA's posted fuel economy figures for 2012 differ from those published by the Canada EnerGuide. For 2012, the APA is using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), numbers for fuel economy, as they better reflect real-world fuel economy. For more information, read APA President George Iny's article regarding the inadequacies of the Canada EnerGuide test cycle

 

Chevrolet Impala  Chrysler 300  2013 Ford Taurus  2013 Honda Accord Crosstour 
2014 Chevrolet Impala  Dodge Charger  Honda Accord Crosstour  2013 Toyota Venza 

Chevrolet Impala

Specifications


 

 

 

What’s new
No changes of note. This very old Impala will continue to be sold to fleet customers in parallel to the all-new 2014 Impala that is being marketed to individual consumers.  

Comments
The Impala has a bland, cohesive exterior design, and a tastefully conservative cabin. Good fit and finish. The dashboard design is somewhat old fashioned but the Instrumentation is clear and controls are easy to fathom. Comfortable seating front and rear, but rear legroom is a bit tight for such a large car. Buyers can choose either front bucket seats or a bench seat. Massive trunk. GM’s 3.6L V6 is smooth and responsive and works well with the smooth six-speed automatic transmission. 

Pricing
The LS trim level is the best value in the lineup and the LT upgrade represents good value. The range-topping LTZ trim level lacks sufficient content to justify its price premium over the LT. Leasing is available but the terms are structured in a way to discourage it. Rapid depreciation; if you buy this car you will need to keep it until depreciation is no longer an issue. The Impala is virtually a fleet-only car as private buyers gravitated toward the pre-2013 Malibu that was equally roomy, significantly better looking and cheaper. The smaller, less attractive 2013 Malibu may have some buyers looking at the Impala again.

Reliability
Below average reliability. Weak points include the electrical system, sensors, steering and brakes. Numerous complaints have been received regarding defective timing chains on the 3.6L V6 found in the Impala and many other GM cars. A GM extended warranty is recommended it you plan to keep this car past the basic warranty period.  


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
3.6L-V6 (300 HP) 

Transmissions: 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  13.1L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: n/a

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/160,000

Country of Origin:  Canada

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Acceptable

Rear: Acceptable

NHTSA Rating: 



2014 Chevrolet Impala

Specifications

NEW

 

 

 

What’s new
All-new third-generation modern Impala goes on sale in mid-2013 as an early-release 2014 model. 

Comments
The current Impala is attracting few private customers, with up to 70 percent of production purchased by fleet buyers. Individuals walking into Chevrolet showrooms looking for a large car generally walked right past the Impala and up to the previous-generation Malibu, which had similar cabin space, was much better looking and cheaper.
To remove this showroom conflict of two similar cars fighting for the same customer, Chevrolet made the new Malibu smaller, and will move the next Impala upmarket with a stated aim to compete with cars like the Ford Taurus, Nissan Maxima and Toyota Avalon.
The Impala's clean lines are broken up by some very strong accent lines that add some visual interest to a really large car that could look dull with totally clean flanks. The Impala's bright exterior trim discreetly enhances the Impala's lines. Chevrolet has created an elegant car with an upmarket appearance, which is compatible with its mission of pushing the Impala into a higher price bracket.
Drivers spend a lot of time in their cars and cabin ambience is an increasingly important factor in attracting buyers. With ample space, comfortable seats, attractive design, chic detailing and luxurious trim, Chevrolet has pulled out all the stops to make the new Impala a pleasant place to spend time in.
The new Impala sits on the same wheelbase as its Buick LaCrosse platform mate, and is of similar overall dimensions. Available engines will include the 2.5L four and the 3.6L V6 offered in many GM vehicles. GM's optional eAssist mild hybrid system links a 2.4L four-cylinder engine with an electric motor that provides a bit of power when accelerating the car but lacks a full-electric mode. Four-cylinder Impalas will be fitted with active noise cancellation technology. All engines send power to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.
Chevrolet's optional MyLink system enhances in-car connectivity with Bluetooth streaming as well as an eight-inch touch screen that also controls the available navigation system. A suite of optional active safety devices including adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, forward collision alert, lane departure warning, blind spot and rear cross traffic alerts, rear camera and rear park assist are all available. The new Impala will be fitted with 10 airbags.
The next Impala is a serious effort that will draw more private buyers into Chevrolet showrooms than the current, aged and prosaic model.

Pricing
No pricing details are available at this time.

Reliability
New model, not rated.


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2.4L-4 H ( 182 HP combined), 2.5L-4 (195 HP), 3.6L-V6 (303 HP) 

Transmissions: 6A
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  n/a
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: n/a

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/160,000

Country of Origin:  Canada, United States

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Not tested

Side: Not tested

Rollover: Not tested

Rear: Not tested

NHTSA Rating: 



Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger

Specifications


 

 

 

What’s new
A 300 horsepower version of the V6 engine is available on both models. Trim changes on both. Charger: lower cost Super Bee 6.4L V8.

Performance
The 3.6L V6 creates ample power and works smoothly in conjunction with the responsive eight-speed automatic transmission. The powerful V8 is much quicker than the V6 but is totally unnecessary. Astonishing handling for such a massive car. Smooth, absorbent ride. Impressive refinement. Nicely weighted and geared steering. The Charger SRT8 is seriously fast, and despite firmer suspension settings and sporty demeanour, is still very civilized. Comfortable seats and lots of space, front and rear. Logical controls, with the dash touch screen being particularly logical and easy to work with. 

Comments
 The 6.4L V8 SRT8 versions of both cars are offered. An eight-speed automatic is stnadard on V6 cars. All-wheel drive, which defaults to rear-wheel drive unless slip is detected, is available on non-SRT8s.
Pricing
The V8 costs $1900 to $2650 when other equipment is accounted for. Trim upgrades are overpriced on the 300. Charger V6 trim packages are good value and those for V8-engined cars are good value. The optional all-wheel drive system costs $2200 on the Chrysler and oddly, $3895 on the Charger.

Reliability
Average reliability predicted. Unproven V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission.


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
3.6L-V6 (292 HP, 300 HP)*, 5.7L-V8 (363 HP [300], 370 HP [Charger]), 6.4L-V8 (SRT 470 HP) 

Transmissions: 5A, 8A* 
Drive Layout: Rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  13.1L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: n/a

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000(SRT only 3/60,000)

Country of Origin:  Canada

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



Ford Taurus

Specifications


 

 

 

What’s new
No changes of note since the Taurus was facelifted in the first quarter of 2012.

Performance
Strong, smooth performance from the normally aspirated V6. Slick-shifting, responsive automatic transmission. The turbocharged V6 in the SHO furnishes blistering, linear acceleration but is heavy on fuel. Good handling. Precise, nicely weighted steering. Smooth, quiet ride. Progressive braking despite mushy pedal feel. Poor visibility, especially for reversing. The swept-back dashboard is a dramatic piece of architecture but it consumes a lot of cabin space. Big, clear gauges. Fit, finish and materials are all very good. Despite its vast exterior size, Taurus cabin space is disappointing, with barely more space available than in the smaller Fusion. Low-mounted front seats restrict toe space for rear seat passengers. Weak air conditioning.

Comments
Two V6 engines, a normally-aspirated V6 with 290 horsepower or a 365 horsepower turbocharged V6, are available on the Taurus. New for 2013 is 237 horsepower 2L turbocharged four which is working its way into most new Ford vehicles. All-wheel drive, optional on the normally-aspirated Taurus SEL V6, is standard on the Limited and SHO variants.

Pricing
All-wheel drive, standard on the Limited and SHO, is a $2400 option on the SEL. Overpriced SEL and Limited trim upgrades. A fully-equipped SEL contains most of the Limited's features but is priced $3500 less. The 2L turbo four, optional only in front-wheel drive form, is priced $1000 higher than a normally-aspirated V6 model with the same equipment. Poor leasing arrangements.

Reliability
Average reliability predicted. Limited sales. The pre-facelift model generated few complaints. Unproven turbo engines. The 3.5L normally aspirated V6 is the best choice. An extended warranty from Ford is recommended. 

 


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2L-4 T (237 HP), 3.5L-V6 (290 HP)*, 3.5L-V6 T (365 HP) 

Transmissions: 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive*, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  11.8L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: n/a

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000

Country of Origin:  United States

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



Honda Accord Crosstour

Specifications


 

 

 

What’s new
Mid-cycle remake pitches the Crosstour as a more overtly SUV type of vehicle. 2.4L four, available in the U.S. since 2012, is now offered in Canada. A six-speed automatic transmission is mated to the V6 engine. 

Performance
Driven before the recent plethora of cosmetic and mechanical updates, the Crosstour was a pleasant road companion. Hooked to a smooth and responsive automatic transmission, the Crosstour’s 3.5L V6 accelerates with great verve. With a carefully developed ride-handling balance, communicative steering and firm, reassuring brakes, the Crosstour is one of the nicest driving affordable big cars available. If the Crosstour has a fault, it is that the sloping roofline, small side windows and high tail combine to limit outward visibility. The Crosstour has clear gauges and generally logical controls. The cabin is stocked with large, supportive seats front and rear which combine with generous legroom to welcome a quartet of passengers. Versatile cargo area which could be even more so if it was a bit deeper below the window line.

Comments
Honda has elected to "Outback" the Crosstour for the 2013 model year by giving it a more overtly SUV-like appearance. A bigger grille, more aggressive front fascia, skid-plate like styling elements and greater ride height combine to create a look that has been very successful for other carmakers.
Mechanical updates include a six-speed automatic transmission for V6 Crosstours. Available active safety systems include lane departure and forward collision warning. A blind-spot monitoring system using door mirror-mounted cameras will also be offered. A rear view camera, important in a car with limited rear visibility, is fitted to each 2013 Crosstour. Unfortunate styling, compromised vision and the lack of a four cylinder variant impeded Crosstour sales in the past. It will be interesting to see if the "Outback" styling flourishes and new powertrain option interests more buyers in 2013. 

Pricing
The new four-cylinder Crosstour EX-L is priced $2340 less than the front-wheel drive V6 EX-L was last year. Good value EX-L trim upgrade on the four-cylinder Crosstour. When additional standard equipment is accounted for, V6 and all-wheel drive powertrain combination costs an additional $4000. Very good value leasing. 

Reliability
Above average reliability predicted. Unproven six-speed automatic transmission.  


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2.4L-4 (192 HP)*, 3.5L-V6 (278 HP)

Transmissions: 5A* (2.4L), 6A (3.5L) 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive*, all-wheel drive

City Fuel Economy:  9.4L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: Tier 2 Bin 5

Warranty: 3/60,000, 5/100,000

Country of Origin:  United States

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: 



Toyota Venza

Specifications


 

What’s new
No changes since the mid-cycle remake released in the spring of 2012.

Performance
The Venza’s big four is quick and smooth, and is the choice of most Venza buyers. The powerful V6 accelerates with alacrity but lacks the sonic qualities expected from an engine with such impressive specifications. Noise from a variety of sources are in excess of what is expected from a car in this segment. The six-speed automatic transmission upshifts smoothly, but downshifts reluctantly. With a flinty ride over short, sharp bumps (courtesy of 19 and 20 inch wheels) and a lack of composure when roads get twisty, the Venza’s suspension delivers the worst of both worlds. Big, clear instruments. Controls for the heating and audio system look odd at first but are a snap to use once you are used to them. The vast centre console can hold a massive amount of detritus, all accessed via a number of very cleverly conceived lids. With a low floor, a tall roof and big doors, the Venza is very easy to get in and out of. Once in, occupants rest on supportive seats and enjoy abundant space. Cheap looking cabin materials and poor assembly are letdowns. Cargo space, while wide and long, is very shallow below the window line, severely limiting cargo capacity.

Comments
The Venza undergoes a mid-cycle remake that reduces the visual bulk that plagued the pre-faceliftt version. The interior is virtually unchanged and cabin materials are still sub-par for a vehicle in this segment. Two engines, a 2.7L four and a 3.5L-V6 are offered. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive available with either engine. All Venzas are equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission. With over 12,000 units sold in Canada last year, the Venza has been has been very warmly received by the buying public here.

Pricing
Upgrading from the 2.7L four to the 3.5L V6 costs $1755. An all-wheel Venza is priced $1800 higher than a similarly equipped front-wheel drive variant. The Premium and JBL package are priced to reflect their additional content but the Touring package is an outright bargain. Good value leasing. 

Reliability
Above average reliability. The Venza's mechanical units have proven reliable in other Toyota products.  


Body Style:  4SD
Occupants:  2/3

Engines:
2.7L-4 (182 HP)*, 3.5L-V6 (268 HP) 

Transmissions: 6A 
Drive Layout: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive*

City Fuel Economy:  11.8L/100 km
ESC: Standard
Emissions ratings: Tier 2, Bin 5

Warranty: 4/80,000, 5/100,000

Country of Origin:  United States

 

IIHS Ratings:

Front: Good

Side: Good

Rollover: Good

Rear: Good

NHTSA Rating: